‘BRUTAL, BUT LIFE CHANGING’
OUR TRANSFORMATION COUPLE REACHES THE HALFWAY STAGE
IS THIS THE DADDY OF ALL GYM EXERCISES?
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW RADIO 1XTRA’S MELODY KANE
S S E N I S U B W O H S S MIS TT Y RREN BEA A W M O R ICE F AND ADV Y N N U B GYM BEING A N O S IN L LILY COL
PLUS! BEN COOMBER | MARK LAWS | KURTIS STACEY | YOGA | WELLNESS | THE LEAN MACHINES | NUTRITION | WORKOUTS | FITFAM | SUSTAINABILITY
Excuses. We’ve all got them. Too tired. Too busy. Skint. Well, if we’re honest, we can all make time, right? And we could all prioritise our minds and bodies if we really wanted too. And this month’s interviewees prove it. First up, our transformation couple. You’ll be able to watch their process in a one-hour special on BESTFIT TV on March 17. They run their own business and have two young kids, which is why their fitness habits had been neglected. Well, we’ve got them back in the game and they’re doing really well. The inches are dropping, the training sessions are weaved into their busy lives, and they’re feeling better than ever. The same goes for DJ Melody Kane. She spends a lot of her time on the road spinning the platters that matter, and even when she’s working late she still finds the time – sometimes – even if it’s the wee hours – to get her sessions in. If they can find the time, then so can we... Elsewhere, and as usual, you can expect expert tips from our team of columnists. And be sure to keep an eye out for our hour-long transformation special on March 17 on BESTFIT TV. Keep on keeping on!
The actress is making a name for herself on the silver screen and her gym sessions are vital
LATEST HEALTH & FITNESS NEWS HOW TO BE HAPPY REVIEWS SUSTAINABLE SWAPS EXERCISE ALTERNATIVES
W www.bestfitmagazine.co.uk @bestfituk
TURKISH GET-UP FITFAM
CONTRIBUTORS Andy Thompson (design), Ben Coomber, Frank Grice, Pexels, Mark Laws, Alexandra Legouix, The Lean Machines, Rex Images, Shutterstock, Kurtis Stacey
TEL 0113 322 4400 BESTFIT is published in the UK by BESTFIT Media. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. While every endeavour has been made to maintain accuracy in the magazine, BestFit can take no responsibility for errors. All opinions expressed are the opinions of the writer expressing them, where stated.
From going plant-free, to 3am workouts, the Radio 1Xtra DJ on staying fit/sharp when your busy
ONE IN FIVE SKIP BREAKFAST Breakfast: the most important meal of the day? Maybe not, for many see it as a time-consuming ritual that can be sacrificed for a longer lie-in. New research suggests that the average Brit’s breakfast habits are changing; with buying breakfast and eating it outside of the home becoming the norm. The study, by Currys PC World, revealed that one in five people skip breakfast entirely because of a lack of time. The 35-44-year-old age group is most likely to skip brekkie because it doesn’t fit into their diet, while 21% (double the national average) of 16-24-year-olds are skipping breakfast because it doesn’t fit into their schedule. Make time, people!
Just under half (45%) of 55+ year olds never skip breakfast because it is a regimented part of their routine.
45% MAKE THE MOST OF HOUSEHOLD ITEMS A new website is aiming to help people get fit at home simply by utilising household items such as dining chairs, sofas, and even a bag of rice. The tool offers easy and hard versions of each workout, perfect for those either starting out or wanting to push themselves a little further. The Quirky Workout Generator (www.hillarys.co.uk/static/the-quirky-workout-generator) asks users to select a minimum of three items they have lying around the home and then generates an easy and hard option for how to use the items to work out with. Workouts include using the stairs for mountain climbers, using a bag of rice as a weight for weighted lunges and using a dining room chair for tricep dips. Home is where the healthy heart is!
CLUELESS WHEN IT COMES TO VITAMINS Each month, over 44 million people (two thirds of the UK’s population) stock up on vitamins. However, almost half (46%) don’t know what the benefits are, according to new research from Nourished, the world’s first 3D-printed, completely personalised vitamin. Despite 65% of men and 58% of people over 56 taking vitamins, these are the two groups least likely to know what they’re for, with 46% of men and 53% of baby boomers admitting they didn’t have a clue what the benefits are. For example, around 13.2 million Brits take zinc, but only one in five know its benefits of helping with our endurance. Many are none the wiser about B12, with only 39% of Brits knowing it predominantly benefits the brain and mind. Do your research!
THE BIG STINK CINEMA FOR THE MIND While more of us are exercising than ever, it turns out that Brits don’t spend much time on their postworkout hygiene. Research from Tap Warehouse has uncovered just how unhygienic Britain’s gym enthusiasts are. For example, more than a fifth of gym goers wait longer than an hour to shower post-gym – making themselves prone to fungal infections. Moreover, 44% of Brits wear their gym clothes more than once, which includes the 10% of Brits who never wash their gym clothes. However, Dr Abigail Short from Bark.com, explains that “touching fitness machines, wiping your sweaty hand on your t-shirt or sharing a barbell can transfer germs” so your gym clothes should be washed after every workout.
Forty per cent of Brits don’t clean their water bottle enough – which can create an environment for germs to thrive, because of the moisture.
BODY AND SOUL
New academic research by UCL and Vue Entertainment reveals that a trip to the cinema can actually be good for us and help us step away from the mounting pressure of being online all the time. Through an academic experiment conducted by UCL’s Faculty of Experimental Psychology, a group of volunteers were tested with biometric sensors to see what happens to our minds and bodies during a two-hour film screening. The findings showed a noticeable increase in participants’ heart rates during the film, with viewers in the healthy heartzone for 45 minutes – equivalent to a light form of cardio. Skin conductance tests also showed that certain events in the film triggered an increase in emotional arousal levels. Time to hit the silver screen, folks.
COUPLE WORKOUTS KEY TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP A survey of more than 7,600 UK adults published by Decathlon revealed 43% of those surveyed have exercised with their partner – with more than half (66%) saying that working out together has improved their relationship. More than half of those surveyed say exercising with their partner has had a positive impact on their relationship, while 53% say they enjoy spending quality time together – showing time spent in the gym or playing sport is still valuable time as a couple. More than one in five (21%) said it made them feel more attracted to their partner and the same amount also said they enjoy watching their other half work out. Working out as a pair also encouraged Brits to maintain a healthier lifestyle, as 22% said they exercise as a couple to stay in better shape. Who knew?
ACTIVE PARENTS BETTER PREPARED FOR CHILDCARE A survey of 1,000 UK adults commissioned by Total Fitness has found that 38% of parents with young children struggle to fit in exercise around looking after a family. According to the study, 42% of parents to young children would like to be fitter, however only 19% regularly work out. The data also shows that parental tasks can affect your body physically, as 21% of parents with a young child admit they suffer from stiff joints as a result of lifting or carrying their youngster. However, the benefits of exercise are clear and can help mums and dads cope with the daily activities of parenthood. More than a fifth of those surveyed agree that exercise or sport helps them to cope better with looking after young children, while nearly one in three parents say that exercise helps to boost their mood. Parents: keep on keeping on.
Miss Showbusiness She might have a famous father but Lily Collins is doing a pretty good job of carving out her own career, and looking after herself… ily Collins was born into showbusiness. The daughter of singing legend Phil Collins, she was always primed for success. Vivacious and sparkling in person, she speaks in an upbeat and confident manner, ever smiling and gracious and even asks if BESTFIT would like a coffee before starting the interview. While the 30-year-old’s ascent into the mainstream hasn’t quite been as accelerated as her father’s was when his Genesis band starting making waves at the end of the 1970s, she is a singer and actress who has considerable clout, and who made a breakthrough last year opposite Zac Efron in the movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil
and Vile, a dark crime thriller that told the story of serial killer Ted Bundy. The film is merely one more creative undertaking for Collins who has also published her first book, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, which gave way for To The Bone, in which she plays a young woman struggling with anorexia. Certainly, if her career can play out in quite the same length as her father’s, she will be happy. Collins Snr recently reunited with bandmates Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks in announcing the band’s first live dates together in 13 years. The actress has always been unapologetically proud of what “dad” has achieved, although piggybacking on success has never been of interest. She wants to carve her own niche… and appears to be doing a pretty good job.
“I am at the stage where lots of opportunities come crashing in at once. That’s no bad thing, but it does put the pressure on selecting the right one”
It seems like things are really gathering pace now… I guess so. I’ve never wanted to be too greedy or impatient with roles, but I do feel there is lots to look forward to now, and I haven’t always had offers coming left, right and centre, so it’s easy when that happens. Who has had the biggest influence on your career? I would probably say Warren Beatty – he would tell us great stories about old Hollywood. Warren was like a true mentor to me. How many young actors get the chance to have someone so smart and kind and who knows everything about the business spend a lot of time trying to guide you and impart their knowledge to you? When it came to acting, his main advice was to be very present and allow yourself to surprise yourself. That way you can be true to all the emotions your character is experiencing and allow yourself to be more spontaneous and real rather than acting in the strict sense.
You’re the daughter of a very famous singer and showbusiness personality. How much has that influenced your understanding and passion for the industry? I was raised in a house that was immersed in Hollywood culture and history. My mother is very interested in the history of the film industry and our house is full of memorabilia. My grandmother was a ballerina during that period and I studied a lot of her photos and watched a lot of movies of that era to get a feel for how people carried themselves and spoke. There’s something so mysterious and alluring about old Hollywood – I’ve always admired legendary actresses like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, and Lana Turner. I love the way the camera lingered on actresses of that era. You see them take in information and respond to it and how they would they would allow their characters to reveal themselves to audiences.
“As soon as you start discussing these issues and dealing with these feelings you realise that you’re not alone. I felt very vulnerable and exposed while writing it, but I tried to be honest”
Growing up, did you father sing or read to you at night? I remember he would read stories to me at night and he loved to imitate different voices for the characters. That inspired me in part to want to act myself. My father also has a great sense of humour. He has taught me a lot about being creative and also being self-critical. That’s helped me to be able to distance myself from my work so that I can judge my work from a balanced and objective perspective. Has it been important for you to make your mark in the business without relying on your father for help? I’ve made a very conscious effort during my career not to ask my father for support. I didn’t want that to be a factor in my career. I adore him and we stay very close and he’s really my best friend, but I wanted
to be able to feel that whatever success I’ve achieved I earned it on my own... I would never even use my father’s name to get into parties [in Los Angeles]. When did you know that you wanted to be an actress? I always loved watching movies, but it was only when I turned 16 that I decided that acting would be my profession. I was sitting down
with my mother one evening and suddenly I felt it was the right time to tell her what I wanted to do. She was very open and receptive and soon I began talking to agents and people in the business to get my career going. What did it mean for you to publish your first book and open up in a very deep way about your personal life? I wanted to explore what it’s like to become a young woman. I wanted to expose a lot of the taboos that girls do not like to talk about: the relationships we have with ourselves, with our parents, with the other sex, and with our bodies. As soon as you start discussing these issues and dealing with these feelings you realise that you’re not alone. I felt very vulnerable and exposed while writing it, but I tried to be honest.
You seem to carry with you an energy and a zest for life… As far as health and wellbeing goes, I’m glad we’ve got to the point that it’s almost as unusual to find someone who doesn’t look after themselves, than does. When
my dad was at the peak of the entertainment world in the 1980s, the notion that the stars of the day would work out, think about mental health, have PTs and keep an eye on their nutrition, was something out of the leftfield.
You look at it now and this is the norm, and I take that seriously myself. There is no better way to start the day than getting up and out and exercising, and it feel it really sets me up, mentally and physically. Are you quite regimented about your fitness schedule? Actually, not as much as I used to be. In the past I would give myself a hard time if I missed a gym session, but I think you have to be realistic in terms of the time you have and the priorities in your life. I know that if I miss a session it’s for a good reason, and I am okay with that, and I’ll always try to catch up. Are you a gym bunny or an outdoors type? Definitely a gym bunny. I admire people who can go for long runs, but I haven’t got the stamina or the concentration. I would rather be doing some sort of circuit training plan that means I can mix up exercises, routines and moves. I’m one of those people who needs to keep things fresh and renewed. What do you think you’ve learnt about yourself over the past few years, with the work you’ve done as an actress and your work as a writer? I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and a lot of work on myself. I see myself as a young woman who wants to evolve and learn as much as she can about herself and the world around her. I’ve thought a lot about my relationships that did not work out, and I discovered a lot about myself that I hadn’t really understood or appreciated before. And one thing in particular that I’ve figured out is that everything always happens for a reason.
IS BACK! TUNE IN MARCH 17TH AT 8PM WATCH ON
ONE HOUR SPECIAL FOR OUR FIRST COUPLE TRANSFORMATION We follow the highs and lows of Simon and Victoria, a married couple with two young kids, as they reach their goals in a 10-week transformation. They work together, they live together and now they will train together. Will they make it? Letâ€™s find out...
HONOR MagicWatch 2
Roidmi S1 calorie counting vacuum cleaner Vacuum cleaner brand Roidmi have teamed up with leading personal trainer Sarah Lacey to create a cordless vacuum cleaner that combines with a smart app to let you know how many calories you burn every time you clean your house. “You can burn up to 200 calories an hour vacuuming your home,” says Sarah. “This could be even higher if you clean vigorously, move furniture or have to negotiate stairs with your cleaner. If you cleaned an hour per day, you would burn off an extra 2lb every month.” The Roidmi S1 is very light, one of the lightest cordless vacuum cleaners on the market according to the press release, and it boasts a run-time of up to one hour on a single charge. We’re guessing this’ll beat the run time on your other cordless vacuums. “Most of the calories you burn are you moving around, not moving the cleaner. In fact, the lighter the cleaner the longer you can clean without fatigue, so you will even burn more calories.”
HONOR have launched the new MagicWatch 2. It’s an elegantly sporty wearable with a sleek and classic look and tachymeter bezel. It comes with a variety of strap materials and colours and with various clock face design options, and it’s easy to navigate using only the watch’s interface and two side buttons. £139.99 www. amazon.co.uk
Macadamia nut oil Pure South Press Co. has launched an all-natural and cold-pressed Extra Virgin Macadamia Nut Oil, which is a good source of health-boosting antioxidant vitamin E. The oil’s high smoke point (200°C) makes it the ideal choice for every aspect of cooking, from drizzling over salads and roast vegetables, to whisking it into your home bakes as a substitute for butter. £4.95 a bottle (250ml)
Nutri-Genetix (NGX) nutrition shake
from £253 www.amazon.co.uk
Vitality CBD oils Vitality CBD have created a fitness range for hardcore gym goers, occasional joggers, and everyone in between. It includes Boost Drops designed for a highoctane burst of energy, Focus Drops formulated for maintaining focus during strenuous exercise, Recover Drops consisting of turmeric, curcumin and vitamin D3 for maintaining muscle, bone, and immune system function, and Relax Drops, which include magnesium, 5-HTP and lemon balm. £29.99 www.vitalitycbd.co.uk
NGX’s new shake is based on nutrigenetics, which explores how you metabolise and process different nutrients based on your genetic make-up. Simply take a swab from inside your cheek and a genetic test identifies your optimal dietary needs and you receive a bespoke starter pack. £69.99 www.nutri-genetix.com
Men’s Santa Ana Anorak Columbia has launched a vintage-inspired windbreaker pullover in bold, retro colour combinations. It resists rain and wind, and is easily packable for when the weather clears; it folds so small it fits into the hand pocket. £90 www.columbiasportswear.co.uk
Ohelo Tumbler Need a reusable coffee tumbler? Ohelo’s multitasker has a 400ml capacity that makes it coffee shop compliant, it has a vacuum insulation and it uses high-grade 18/8 stainless steel to ensure the contents remain hot for up to six hours or cold for up to 12. A two-part lid makes it leak free. £29-£30 ohelobottle.com
Simply Teeth Sonic toothbrush An app-connected toothbrush with five settings including cleaning, whitening, polishing, sensitivity and softness. It produces 40,000 brush strokes per minute and has a smart two-minute timer perfect for kids. £49.99 www.simplyteethbrushes.co.uk
Twix Whey Protein Powder Yep, you heard right, Twix have launched a Chocolate, Biscuit & Caramel flavoured whey protein powder. It has only 140 calories per serving, and 21g of protein. And it tastes of Twix… what’s not to like! £25 (25 servings)
B_ND fitness range From resistance bands (£14-£16) – their best-selling product – and lifting belts (£30), to sliders (£9), foam rollers (£12), dumbbells (£20-£25) and exercise mats (£32), B_ND’s products are vegan-friendly and sent in non-plastic, reusable packaging. www.b-ndstore.com
North Face Dryzzle Jacket
Lightweight, compact and stowable, North Face’s new Dryzzle jacket is also sustainable; as it’s made from recycled polyester and has a non-PFC durable water repellent. It has a reliable, seam-sealed three-layer shell for active adventures in wet and windy conditions, and also features a stretch-knit backer that, unlike other shells, doesn’t feel cool on bare skin. This makes it perfect for active adventures that cause your body heat to rise, or simply when the weather starts to warm in Spring… ie now. The Dryzzle is completed by an attached, fully adjustable hood, Velcro® sleeve cuffs
and a snap-locking storm-flap to lock in body heat and keep wind and rain at bay. Of course, there’s some technology involved. It uses FUTURELIGHT™, which they describe as the world’s most advanced breathableweatherproof outwear technology, and which is engineered using nano-spinning technology that adds unmatched air permeability to a waterproof membrane. We don’t know what that means either, but it’s been tested by The North Face’s elite athlete team in the world’s most extreme environments, which is good enough for us. £200 cotswoldoutdoor.com
OKAY, OKAY, SO SO WE’RE WE’RE NOW NOW CONFINED CONFINED TO TO THE THE HOUSE HOUSE FOR FOR THE THE FORESEEABLE FORESEEABLE THANKS THANKS TO TO THE THE CORONAVIRUS. CORONAVIRUS. THANKFULLY, THANKFULLY, BESTFIT’S BESTFIT’S MARK MARK LAWS LAWS HAS HAS DEVISED DEVISED AA WORKOUT WORKOUT THAT THAT INVOLVES INVOLVES NOT NOT HAVING HAVING TO TO LEAVE LEAVE YOUR YOUR LIVING LIVING ROOM. ROOM. HURRAH! HURRAH! So it looks as though we’re all going to be at home for a bit as we try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means less time in the gym or training with friends, and more time self-isolating and social distancing. Fun times! The good news is that this gives us all an opportunity to strip life back a bit, and exercise from home. Don’t let these unprecedented times ruin all the work you’ve been putting into your mind and body in 2020. Instead, I’ve devised a simple workout that fits nicely into an ad break and the very same sofa you may be unable to escape from. You can either work through each exercise one at a time during the ad breaks, or you can perform the entire thing in one go and then reward yourself with a ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ marathon... don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!
Lets Begin >>>
For each of the following exercises there is an easy option (A) and a harder option (B). Work through the A’s first and only move on to the B’s when you think you’re ready. Rest as much as you need to between sets and if anything hurts at any time stop and have a sit down... maybe even a lie down!
1A - BOX SQUAT X 20 Stand with your heels against the sofa, keep your eyes fixed on something just above head height, use your arms as a counter balance and lower your backside down slowly whilst keeping your torso as close to parallel to the wall as possible. Don’t actually sit onto the sofa but when you feel your backside touch the cushion, drive back up to the start position.
1B - REAR ELEVATED BOX SQUAT X 10 L&R From the Box Squat start position take a big step forwards with one leg. Now lift the back leg up and reach it back so that the toes are pressing down into the sofa cushion. Hold your arms out for balance again, keep the eyes fixed on the same object and lower the knee of the back leg down towards the floor. Both knees should get to a 90-degree bend and then drive back to the top. Repeat this both sides.
2A - 1 LEG CUSHION DEADLIFT Take a cushion off the sofa, place it on the floor and stand on it. Take one foot off the cushion and keep the knee of the standing leg very slightly unlocked. Now lift the nonstanding leg up behind you and let your torso tip forward at the same time keeping a straight line from your shoulders all the way down to the non-standing heel. Eventually aim to get your chest parallel to the floor so you create a capital T shape. Your ankle and hip will become much more stable, which will help when you start running when we’re all allowed back out again.
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2B - 1 LEG HIP THRUST Lie on the floor with your backside a few inches from the sofa and your feet up on the cushion. Rest the heel of one foot into the cushion, raise the other foot into the air and hold your arms at 45 degrees to your torso. Now squeeze your bum cheeks together as tight as possible, drive the heel down into the sofa and the elbows down into the floor. This will thrust your hips up towards the ceiling. Pause at the top for a few seconds and then lower slowly to the start position â€“ say hello to your glutes as they are now well and truly awake.
3A - HANDS ELEVATED PUSH UPS No bodyweight routine would be complete without the mandatory push up. The easy option requires you to elevate your hands onto the arm of the sofa, then down onto the cushions, then onto a cushion on the floor. Important thing with the push up is that there is a straight line from your heels, through your knees, hips, back and up to your shoulders. Ideally, keep your elbows tucked in close to your ribs, but you can experiment with different hand positions to target the chest muscles a bit more.
3B - FEET ELEVATED PUSH UPS The more difficult option requires you to elevate your feet. Initially the feet can be elevated onto a cushion on the floor, then the feet will elevate up on the cushion on the sofa, and the final progression will see your feet placed onto the arm of the sofa. Again, the main priority is to keep a strong straight line from ankle to ear lobes and to keep those elbows tucked in nice and tight to the ribs.
4A - MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS Get into a push up position with your feet on the floor, hands on the sofa cushions and a nice straight line from ankles to ear lobes, then lift one knee up towards your chest. To perform the exercise you will need to stabilise the weight of the body with your shoulders and switch the legs in a running motion, so one is driving up towards the chest as the other is driving down towards the floor. Once you have the technique sussed you can increase the speed. Although this is a nice low impact cardio drill weâ€™re more interested in the increased stability being developed at the shoulder. To ramp things up, try it one handed...
4B - INVERTED SHOULDER PRESS From a push up position (with feet elevated on the sofa and hands placed on the floor) walk your hands towards your feet until they are directly beneath your shoulders. Your body should now be in an inverted ‘L’ position. Now it’s simply a case of lowering your head down towards the floor and then pressing yourself back to the start position. To increase the range of motion, elevate your hands onto something thick like an Argos catalogue... if that is even still a thing!
5A - SIDE PLANK W/ROTATION Rest one elbow on the sofa cushions, drive the hips up towards the ceiling and keep a nice straight line from your head through your spine, into your hips and down into your feet. So far this is just a static hold, which is ok... but I like to add movement. So take your free hand and reach down towards the floor before rotating it back up towards the ceiling. Repeat on both sides and pay attention to whether one side feels stronger than the other.
5B - DRAGON FLAG Lie in front of the sofa with your head against it, place both hands underneath the sofa and hold on tight. Now tuck your knees up to your chest and thrust your feet up towards the ceiling. If that’s hard enough for now then simply lower the hips down and return to the start position. However, if your core is strong enough then you can lower the feet down towards the floor whilst constantly thrusting the hips up towards the ceiling. Initially concentrate on just lowering yourself to the floor and then reset, but eventually you’ll aim to lower the feet down close to the floor and then reverse the movement back to the top.
That completes your sofa workout. For the observant among you, you may have noticed that there is one crucial movement pattern missing – pulling. It’s very tricky to perform any kind of bicep curl or rowing movement with a sofa, so my recommendation would be to smash out this workout as it is, and give your other half a shout – dim the lights, light a few candles, hit play on your Barry White LP and do some pulling of your own... which I will NOT be providing you a guide for.
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BEN COOMBER EXPLAINS THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING THE BALANCE BETWEEN PERFORMANCE AND RECOVERY
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE
s a performance nutritionist, I am always testing new theories on myself and experimenting before doing so with my clients. For me, there are only so many roads you can truly walk down with a client if you have not been down that road yourself. For example, in the worlds of bodybuilding or triathlon, many will argue that you cannot truly prep someone for a competition without having done one yourself. Of course, science is science, but part of the battle with coaching others isn’t the science itself, but the application of it. Coaching is all about listening and finding a way to get a successful outcome, and the key point is experimentation with the strategies we use. I don’t often work with high-level individuals in sports I haven’t competed in or experienced myself. This serves two purposes: first, I can’t really be passionate about a sport I’m not familiar with. And secondly, if I can’t identify with where the client is at and how they feel in the environment we’re trying to optimise through coaching, what use am I when my client is struggling? So, in that vein, are you testing and applying your work to yourself? Over the last 18 months I have accelerated this journey of experimentation and if I was to single out the biggest area of
contention right now, it’s the balance between recovery and performance. We are all looking to train as hard as we can, but everyone has a set recovery capacity, whether that is genetic or environmentally driven. Many try and exercise intensely for many hours a week, but their recovery capacity doesn’t allow it. How do we know this? Because it’s affecting daily energy levels, DOMS and overall feelings of wellbeing. It’s hard to argue against the idea that sleep is the #1 integral factor for exercise recovery. This means that if a person’s environment doesn’t allow them to always sleep well, they are not going to be able to push their training. This is because a decline in sleep quality or duration causes a decline in central nervous system (CNS) activity, and thus our ability to apply force and effort – and this is compounded by impaired CNS recovery from hard training. So, if we sleep badly, then can’t train effectively, should we exercise at all in that state? What we must appreciate here is the context that person lives in every day. Are they elite? Are they pushing for the 1% edge over the competition? Do they need to push hard today, or can they do it tomorrow when they are feeling more rested? The reality for most of us is that we like to keep fit, we like to challenge
our body, and we like to get the best out of this life. But if you don’t get the balance right then it can deregulate your sleep, you might get tired during the day, you might not be able to concentrate on work… you’re just not as good a human outside of the gym. With many clients I see that there is an element of anxiety around reducing training volume. Some feel they won’t be as fit, some feel they will put on weight, and others worry they’ll lose part of their identity. These are all mental battles that are fixed with functional strategies and an alignment with the science of nutrition. This is then a broader conversation around physical and mental health and having lots of things in our lives that stimulate us, that we enjoy, and that allow us to grow as people. And sometimes this is part of the coaching process, helping your clients get back in touch with these things if training intensity and frequency needs to drop.
SUSTAINABLE SWAPS Do your bit for the world and make these simple swaps to restore some natural order to your life, writes Jess Davies The problem: Cling Film Cling Film and foil use a lot of greenhouse gas to produce, are not reusable and can leek nasty chemicals into your food. Swap to: Beeswax Wraps, Beeswax Co A sustainable and stylish way to keep your food fresh. Beeswax Co make their wraps in Stroud using 100% cotton, pine resin, jojoba oil and beeswax from a local bee keeper. The mix of natural ingredients helps your leftovers last longer by sealing it tight but allowing it to breathe. These wraps are reusable, and just need a little cold water and soap before the next use. Once you have maxed out your wrap, you can throw it in your compost – its 100% biodegradable.
perfect for daily life. Buntu are on a mission to not only encourage the use of reusable materials, but also to provide safe drinking water to poor communities. For every bottle sold, Buntu will donate 10% of net profits towards funding a project by water charity drop4drop.
The problem: Harmful cleaning products The chemicals found in regular cleaning products can cause dry and irritated skin.
The problem: Coffee cups No one has figured out how to make environmentally-friendly, sustainable reusable coffee cups just yet. Swap to: Reusable coffee cup, Ecoffee With a slogan like ‘No excuse for single-use’ you know these guys are serious about reducing single-use
The problem: Plastic bottles Plastic bottles are clogging up our oceans, harming sea life and littering our beautiful beaches. Swap to: Reusable water bottle, Buntu Swap your plastic bottle for one of Buntu’s sleek stainless steel BPA-free bottles. Choose either Cool Grey or Rose Quartz to match your style. The leak-proof lid and handle makes this
waste. The Ecoffee cup is made using natural, sustainable bamboo fibre without BPA or phthalate. Choose from a wide variety of colourful designs to suit all styles. These cups are dishwasher safe and easy to use, and don’t come with that nasty plastic aftertaste.
Swap to: Natural cleaning products, Yope A complete range of natural cleaning products that swap out the unnecessary artificial colourants, scents, preservatives, parabens, naphtha derivatives, SLS, SLES and thickeners. Instead, they use vegetable extracts and mild aromas to make sure these can be used on sensitive skin and children. Ninety eight per cent of the ingredients are natural and all products are affordable, so everyone can reap the benefits. The problem: Harmful soap/ shampoo products Many soap and shampoo products are
tested on animals before being sold to us. Mass production can also result in poor wages for the supply chain. Swap to: Lush soap and shampoo bars, Lush An extensive range of handmade soaps and shampoos, made using 100% vegetarian ingredients. Lush campaigns against animal testing, and keeps the amount of packaging it uses to an absolute minimum. Its ethical buying policy ensures fairness for all involved in growing and harvesting the fresh, natural ingredients that make up the recipes for its products. They also smell incredible – a major bonus.
include stevia extract and aloe vera – the more natural, the better it is for our ecosystem. An easy way to do your bit. The problem: Plastic straws Disposable plastic straws are rarely recycled and end up in landfills and our oceans.
The problem: Non-biodegradable tooth brushes 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are consumed every year and most end up in landfill or our oceans. They are not recyclable or biodegradable. Swap to: Bamboo tooth brush, Humble Brush Swap your regular toothbrush for Humble. Made from 100% biodegradable sustainably grown bamboo with nylon bristles from Dupont. Even the wrapping is eco-friendly, made from recyclable materials that can be disposed of easily. Pick yourself up some natural toothpaste too. Ingredients
Swap to: Metal straws, EcoStraws EcoStraws are on a mission to replace all disposable plastic straws, and offer an impressive selection of eco-friendly replacements. Choose either classy stainless steel, natural wheat or bamboo. They also have straws made from Borosilicate Glass, the strongest common glass type around. All straws are chemical and BPA-free, available in a range of different styles and sizes and can be used for both hot and cold drinks. The problem: Plastic lunch boxes Great motivation to pack your own lunch instead of buying something out that uses even more disposable packaging. Swap to: Stainless Steel Lunch Box, Black and Blum The first truly leak-proof stainless steel lunch box and it won’t disappoint on style. This 3-in-1 multifunctional lunch box comes with its own steel fork. Not only can you use it for your lunch, you can cook meals in the oven or store pre-cooked food in the freezer with it. It’s BPA-free and comes with a silicone strap and meal divider. The ultimate in ecofriendly lunch wear. The problem: Shopping bags That 5p charge annoys us all, but so does the thought of plastic bags ruining the environment by ending up in landfill.
Swap to: Cotton Shopping Bags, Turtle Bags Organic cotton bags certified under the Global Oganic Textile Standard (GOTS). This means no chemical pesticides or fertilisers are used in the production of the fabric and farmers must work under safe conditions with an agreed minimum wage. The drawstring bags are washable and perfect for picking up some fresh organic fruit and veg from your local market. Or the supermarket, whichever is good for you.
The problem: Tampons 85% of tampons have been shown to contain Glyphosate, the active ingredient in weed killer. Not at all great for the female body. Swap to: Organic tampons/pads/ Menstrual Cup, TOTM A range of tampons, pads and liners that use certified organic cotton to avoid those harmful chemical nasties. The applicator tampon also uses biodegradable sustainable cardboard applicator for smooth insertion. The pads are available for day and night. TOTM also offer a reusable menstrual cup as an even more sustainable alternative to the tampon. But you might want to work your way up to that one. It could take practice.
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ALTERNATIVES TO EXERCISE…
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS THAT PROVE YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED TO SPEND HOURS EXERCISING TO LOSE WEIGHT Are you feeling guilty for skipping your morning workout, or did you not quite make it to the gym after work? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. At this time of year, it can be hard finding motivation. But what if there was a way you could burn calories without it feeling like you were actually exercising? “There are some really simple changes you can incorporate into your daily routine whilst sitting at your desk at work or when you’re at home going about day-to-day tasks, which can help to increase the amount of calories you burn,” says Terri-Ann Nunns, creator of the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan. “There will be many things that you already do that actually burn more calories than you would ever think – meaning you don’t need to feel guilty about skipping a workout.” Here are ten…
about our morning routine? Walking around briskly, when you’d normally stand still, or squatting when you’d usually sit, can be an effective way of burning calories without thinking about it. The continuous movement means you will burn more calories than you would be being dormant! How many calories can you burn? Research shows you can burn 70 calories for every five minutes you do squats, so 15 minutes of squatting will burn about 200 calories. HOUSEWORK
FIDGETING Good news if you struggle to sit still, as you could be doing yourself a favour when it comes to burning extra calories. ‘Fidgeting’ whilst watching TV, sitting at your desk or eating dinner, and it could be tapping your foot, shaking your leg or always getting up and down, burns calories because your body is constantly moving. How many calories can you burn? Research has found you can burn up 350 calories a day by simply ‘fidgeting’. LAUGHTER Laughter is always a good thing, whether it’s a giggle with friends or laughing out loud at the TV – nothing boosts happiness like a good laugh. But an even bigger benefit of laughing is that you actually burn calories by doing so. Although not by a huge amount, your heart rate increases, causing calories to be burned. How many calories can you burn? It’s been found that 15 minutes of laughter a day can burn 10 to 40 calories. DANCING We’re not talking about a Zumba or intense aerobics class at the gym, we’re referring to the dancing you do when you hit the town and let your hair down! Whether you’re into house, R&B or cheese, upbeat, fast-paced music that you can move to will increase your heart rate and burn calories. So, don’t feel ashamed of your moves next time you head out... How many calories can you burn? Studies show that 40 minutes of dancing can burn around 200 calories. DAILY ROUTINE When we get ready each day we tend to do so in one spot. We stand still when we brush our teeth and we sit down to dry our hair and apply make-up. But what if there was an easy way to burn calories when going
We often hear people say that housework and cleaning the whole house feels more intense than a full body workout. While this may seem a tad dramatic, in actual fact you can burn a serious amount of calories from doing household chores. Cleaning, hoovering and tidying are all physical work and require you to be constantly on the move – similar to if you were working out. This means it’s a really effective and easy way to burn calories. How many calories can you burn? An hour spent dusting burns 166 calories. An hour hoovering burns 175 calories an hour. An hour of ironing burns 157 calories. PLAYING WITH CHILDREN There’s no denying that children are always full of energy and keeping up with them can sometimes prove difficult. Chasing them around the park, playing games with them and even getting them into bed can all contribute to burning calories as when they’re constantly on the move. You tend to be as well, making it a great way to burn calories without even realising it. How many calories can you burn? Research has found that playing with/running after children for just 20 minutes can burn 78 calories.
GET YOUR GREENS IN FIVE QUICK AND EASY WAYS FOR YOU TO ADD MORE GREENS TO YOUR DAY Juice it up Celery juice is a great way to add a wealth of nutrients into your day; it’s light, refreshing, and healing. What’s more, it is claimed to aid in digestion, be anti-inflammatory, cure chronic pain and clear up skin conditions. Get Brothy Soups are a great vehicle for leafy greens, just stir a big handful of spinach into a soup or stew during the last three to five minutes of cooking.
SEX It goes without saying, but getting it on with a partner can definitely contribute to burning extra calories. It’s simple really, as the longer your heart rate is maintained at a higher-than-normal ‘resting’ rate, the more calories you will burn. How many calories can you burn? Studies have found that most couples burn an average of 300 calories an hour while they’re having sex. WEARING HEELS Walking in heels can be difficult enough as it is, so it’s good to know that there really are some benefits from suffering all day. Heels can also be a really great way to tone and shape your legs, as they act in a similar way to fitness shoes that are designed to help with toning the muscles in your legs. How many calories can you burn? Walking burns anywhere from 90 to 200 calories in 30 minutes. A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP Ensuring you have a good night’s sleep and plenty of rest can help you burn more calories when you do come to work out. When we’re tired, we’re more likely to work with less effort when exercising, or even to skip a workout all together. Ensuring you have enough sleep
leads to better performance all round, including in your workouts. How many calories can you burn? Multiple studies have found a connection between sleep and weight loss. Not enough sleep leads to more food cravings and a slower metabolism. TAKING THE STAIRS Sometimes it’s the little things that count, and swapping the lift for the stairs can really have a big difference on how many calories you burn. Try running up and down them on occasion to increase your heart rate and get a mini workout inbetween meetings or when at home. How many calories can you burn? You can burn 102 calories by walking up and down the stairs for 10 minutes.
Kimchi Cabbage counts as a leafy green! Get your daily dose in the form of kimchi, an often-spicy fermented Korean condiment commonly made of napa cabbage. Delicacies from the ocean Sea vegetables have gone from a near obscurity to a popular health trend in a matter of recent months, as seaweed snacks can be found at nearly every local supermarket. Swap it Out Swap out heavy pasta for nutrientboosting courgette spaghetti. Continue to enjoy your favourite pasta meals guilt-free, without the heavy and glutenous carbohydrates of pasta.
WHOOOAAAAAHHH WE’RE HALFWAY THERE…
SIMON AND VICTORIA ARE MIDWAY THROUGH A 10-WEEK TRANSFORMATION AND THEY’RE ALREADY FINDING THEY’VE TOTALLY CHANGED THEIR LIFESTYLE BY TRAINING HARD AND EATING CLEAN…
In our last issue, we met Leeds-based couple Simon and Victoria, our first ever transformation duo. They run their own business and have a young family, so it’s fair to say their fitness journey had taken a bit of a back seat. Both were looking to eat and train better in an attempt to lose weight, change shape and feel more focused at work and at home. Five weeks in, here’s how they’re getting on… We’re at the halfway stage of your 10week transformation, how has it been? Tell us about the first few weeks… Victoria: It was really tough to begin with. I don’t think we really appreciated how unfit we were. At the beginning I was apprehensive, but I was also like: ‘it’ll be fine, don’t worry’, but we really struggled with the fitness test in the first week. It was a huge eye-opener! As an example, we had to run around a running track and that was the bit I really struggled with. I couldn’t mentally figure out how I was going to do the rest of the training after having found running around a track so hard. I was so pleased Simon was there to do it with me because he gave me confidence. I would have found it much harder on my own. I think I still would have done it, I don’t want to let anyone down, but it would definitely have been much harder. The PTs gave us a lot of support in those early weeks and that really helped too. I also found I was quite body conscious at the gym in those early stages. I’m not vain as such, but I just thought about all that weight just jiggling around in front of all the people in the gym. Simon: I’d agree with all of that. Those first few weeks were a mixture of excitement, doing everything for the first time, but also anxiety of worrying about whether we would fit in at the gym. The main thing about doing it together was that when we were at home, we would talk about the gym and that definitely wouldn’t have happened if we’d done it on our own, and that really helped. We were able to stay focused on our training and on our food, and it was that communication that helped us in the early weeks.
Did you anticipate the amount of planning you needed to do to organise your week? Simon: It’s certainly not something we’ve done much of before. Now, we sit down on a Sunday night and actively talk about what we’ll eat during the week and when we’ll train, and we’ve never done that in the 15 years we’ve been together. So what happened after your fitness test? Victoria: It was quite brutal to begin with, going from nothing to three personal training sessions a week, plus classes and more. It was crazy. But the hardest thing was the nutrition. There was a lot of advice to take in, so we just decided to keep things simple. I know it sounds obvious, but we just focused on eating as clean and as healthily as possible in weeks one and two. After that we were getting more and more advice about carbs, rainbow plates, micros and macros and though we found some of that lingo hard to understand, we just took some of the bits we did understand and built our own new routine. Simon: The nutrition side was definitely the toughest part of it. When you go to the gym you know what you have to do, how long it’ll take and how it will make you feel, but you also know that all of that work can be undone in the kitchen… and sometimes unknowingly! There were several traps we kept falling into and that was down to a lack of education. It sounds like you’re definitely more knowledgeable about nutrition now, though… Victoria: Definitely. We’ve got more to learn, but I’ve gone from eating
toast, sandwiches and pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively throughout the day, to having eggs for breakfast, chicken and salad for lunch and chicken and veg in the evening. I didn’t trust the advice we were getting at the start of the process but I’m glad we stuck with it because it really has changed our lifestyle. I think the lightbulb moment was when you see the evidence in the scales or in the inches you’re losing, that’s when you know that the training and nutrition is really working. Simon was a lot better at it at the start and was seeing good results, so I had to give myself a bit of a kick up the bum. Simon: I think the main thing was that we would often skip breakfast and instead load up on coffee. And then because we were working and putting the kids to bed, we’d eat late, and sometimes load up on the meals we missed by making up for it in the evening. It was ridiculous if you think about it. Oh, and we should have taken out shares in Skyr protein yoghurt, because we seem to be getting through buckets of the stuff! At which point did you get used to the training, do you think? Simon: Surprisingly quickly actually. At the start we were worried about how we were going to make one gym session, let alone three or four, and that was because we run our own business and we have two young kids. But once the sessions were put in the diary we just had to work around it, and after two or three weeks it just became the norm. It was a big change for us because time has always been an excuse, and there we were spending six hours a week
in the gym. It was a shock how well we adapted. Work did take a bit of a back seat and that is something we need to figure out at the end, as we’ll need a better balance, but there were times we actually worked better because we felt better. You’ve been using Power Plate. How have you found that? Victoria: That’s been one of the main pieces of equipment we’ve used. I’d never used one before and though I’d seen them in the gym, I didn’t fancy seeing my bits wobbling around! Even when I first stood on it I was a bit apprehensive, but it’s amazing how quickly you get used to using something like that. We used it in our sessions to help build up strength and to activate our muscles. It was great
Watch the hour-long special on March 17 on BESTFIT TV
for variation and I loved using it. Simon: We also used it to warm up and cool down, in particularly with accessories like the Piriformis roll, so it’s been a pretty crucial piece of our training so far. I would definitely recommend anyone to ask their PT how they can incorporate it into their own training. Of the training you’ve done so far, what have you enjoyed most? Simon: The best thing is, we’ve had a lot of variation. That’s mainly because we’ve had different PTs at different phases, but they’ve all got their own ideas and that has kept us fresh. I’ve started running, too, and I really enjoy it, swimming too. At the end it’ll be about continuing to do the things you enjoy rather than the things you need to
do. You have to enjoy your training, so you need to become a bit more selfish about what you really love doing. Victoria: I’ve really enjoyed spinning. I never thought I’d be capable of doing a spin class, but now I’m obsessed by it! I also like doing weights. Before this transformation I was the kind of person who’d do a bit on the treadmill, a bit on the cross trainer… but now I’m weight training and it’s totally taken me out of my comfort zone. Now, though, I can go to the gym on my own and use all the equipment and do so in a way that I can mix it up, so HIIT one session and something else the next. It all comes down to knowing what you need to do, and you definitely need a PT to help you get that education.
PIRIFORMIS WARM-UP WARM-UP As well as the Piriformis roll, which reduces tension and can reduce pain, Simon and Victoria used resistance bands to activate he glutes. Simply grab a band and squat and hold as part of your warm-up.
BOX JUMP WITH HOLD
PRESS-UP WITH CHANGE IN HAND POSITIONÂ
THE EQUIPMENT As a global leader in whole body and targeted vibration training and therapy, Power Plate products and protocols are used around the world by professional sports teams and fitness pioneers as am innovative, time-saving and results-driven way to improve fitness and wellbeing. Power Plateâ€™s whole body and targeted vibration
training and therapy helps users prepare faster, perform better, and recover quicker. It makes them feel better by stimulating natural reflexes, increasing muscle activation, and improving circulation. Power Plate delivers accelerated health, fitness and wellness results, whatever the fitness level or training style.
JUICE LOOSE EAGLE-EYED READERS WILL KNOW WE LOVE A JUICE RECIPE AT THIS MAG, AND THESE TWO COME COURTESY OF THE SIMPLY HEALING RETREAT. THEY’RE DESIGNED TO HELP YOU BOOST YOUR ENERGY LEVELS AND REPLENISH NUTRIENTS IN THE HEAT
ENERGY-BOOSTING MORNING GREEN JUICE To make, simply juice: 2 green apples 1 handful of spinach 1 inch of turmeric root 1 inch of ginger 3 celery stalks 4 kale leaves 1/2 a lemon This morning juice is full of flavour, antioxidants and health – and will keep you going much longer than a coffee! It’s rich in manganese, which will help reduce insulin resistance and therefore balance your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings. It’s also rich in fibre, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin K, thanks to the celery, kale, lemon and apples. Ginger is also a natural antihistamine, making it great for those suffering with hayfever and a stuffy nose.
RECIPES SUMMER FRUIT PUNCH To make, simply juice: 2 ripe peaches 2 nectarines 1 punnet strawberries 1 large lime Pour into a long glass over ice cubes and sip in the sunshine. The strawberries are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants that will help protect your skin from sun damage whilst the lime is a great detoxifier and metabolism-booster. It adds a burst of freshness too – making it the perfect thirst-quencher! Peaches are also a good source of potassium, which not only help with healthy blood pressure but will act as an electrolyte to help regulate hydration – perfect for when it’s super hot outside and you need to replenish some of the nutrients lost through sweat.
The Simply Healing Centre is a retreat specialising in serious detoxes targeting the body from the inside out, from juice cleansing and colonic hydrotherapy, to meditation and shamanic healing.
SPRING CLEAN YOUR HEALTH RIGHT, PUT YOUR COATS/WELLIES AWAY, IT’S TIME TO SPRING INTO A NEW AND HEALTHIER YOU NOW THAT THE SUNSHINE’S ON ITS WAY. OUR EXPERTS TELL YOU HOW YOU CAN LIVE BETTER WITH SOME SMALL ADJUSTMENTS…
SWITCH UP YOUR WORKOUT The promise of an improvement in the weather should encourage you to take your workout outside, or try something new. “For example, if your 5k runs are going well, consider signing up for a 10k. Working towards a new goal will motivate you to train harder and improve your fitness further. You’ll be surprised at how easy the 5k seems after that!” says nutritionist and fitness instructor Cassandra Barns. As well as this, if you’ve been participating in a HIIT class since the New Year Cassandra explains how to boost this. “HIIT classes and cardio-type exercise such as cycling can be great for your cardiovascular health, and for burning lots of calories, but incorporating weight training or a strength training class into your workouts too can have other benefits. First, it can be better than cardio exercise for boosting metabolism outside your workout, making it the ideal complement to HIIT classes for fat loss or weight control.” WELCOME YOUTHFUL SPRING SKIN If your skin has felt the effects of a harsh winter you could improve its wellbeing by tweaking what you eat. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.glenvillenutrition.com) explains, “what we eat has an effect on the mechanisms that are associated with the ageing of the body and these benefits will be reflected not only in terms of good health, but also in the condition of the skin. Vitamin C is the most important nutrient, as this vitamin helps in the manufacturing of collagen. So a good intake of fruits and vegetables is important and should be eaten daily. Our skin regenerates every twofour weeks so changes may be seen after this time.”
7 WAYS TO A
HEALTHY HEART Nutritionist Lily Soutter lists seven top tips to help your ticker
Whilst all fruit and veg contains an array of polyphenols, berries contain a high content of anthocyanin, an polyphenol thought to have heart protective effects. PUT A SPRING IN YOUR STEP WITH SEAWEED Seaweed has multiple health benefits and there are a range of snacks ideal for healthy living. “Seaweed can support your metabolism, where the body uses iodine – a mineral that’s particularly abundant in seaweed, to make thyroid hormones,” says nutritional therapist Fiona Lawson. “As well as influencing growth and cell repair, these important hormones control your metabolism. It can also help your gut, by dry weight; the amount of fibre in seaweed is higher than most fruit and vegetables. Fibre is essential not only for ensuring smooth digestion, but it can also help to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Further to this, seaweed can help to combat stress! Whenever we feel stressed (emotionally or physically), our body uses B vitamins. It’s therefore important that we eat enough B vitamins to support our stress resilience. Seaweed can help: it contains good amounts of many of the B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and folate.” JUMP ON THE CBD TREND CBD (Cannabidiol) products have become increasingly popular and this is set to continue throughout 2019. There are now a number of dietary supplements, beauty products, beverages and even foods, which have incorporated the CBD health benefits. “We’re living in an age of wellness awareness,” says Lawson. “People are both interested in maintaining health, and are more inclined to choose a natural approach – so the popularity of CBD will no doubt increase.” GET YOUR GUT IN GEAR The gut has been described as the second brain and for good reason – its health can have numerous effects on your overall wellbeing. “Our stomach is made up of good and bad bacteria, called gut flora, which have a controlling influence over many bodily functions, including metabolism and fat reduction,” explains Barns. “However, our lifestyle habits (taking antibiotics, having a diet high in sugar, feeling stressed) can contribute to damaging our gut bacteria, so it’s important to limit the bad bacteria and encourage the good bacteria to grow. Feed the good bacteria with fibrous foods and probiotics, which you can find in fermented foods or support your gut health this spring with a supplement, such as Natures Plus GI Natural Powder (£32.95 www.naturesplus.co.uk).
2. VITAMIN E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which may help to prevent the development of atherosclerosis. Vitamin E-rich foods can also help to minimise blood clots and may play a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
3. HIGH-FIBRE FOODS
If you’re suffering with high cholesterol then soluble fibre is just too important to go amiss. Berries such as raspberries come with a whopping 7g fibre per 100g, so add them to your morning porridge or smoothie.
4. VITAMIN C
People who have a higher intake of fruit have been shown to have higher blood levels of vitamin C, which has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. OILY FISH
All fish has been shown to support heart health, however oily fish is extra special as it’s a potent source of omega-3 fats. Consume two portions of fish a week, one of which is oily.
6. POLY AND MONOUNSATURATED FATS
Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats – think olive oil, avocado – can help to maintain levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and decrease levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
7. HERBS AND SPICES
Excess salt within the diet can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke. Ditch the table salt and get experimenting in the kitchen with flavoursome herbs and spices!
DJ Melody Kane is filling dancefloors all over the country and has a residency on BBC Radio 1 Xtra. She’s also massively into her fitness, and she’s now an advocate of eating a plant-based diet…
You’re extremely busy as a DJ, producer, influencer and more… so how do you juggle your life and maintain your fitness goals? I find I’m more effective in a routine but my lifestyle [DJing and working weekends] sometimes makes that difficult. I’d like to train regularly but no two days are ever the same. The other day was the perfect example; I ran a No Kane No Gain session at night and then went to the gym at 3am. I got home at 5am. It’s not ideal and there’s no consistency to my training, but I just don’t feel right if I don’t get the sessions in, whatever time of day that might be. If I don’t train I don’t feel right physically or mentally, I feel really tired and I go through dips, so I have to be strict on myself. That way, I don’t feel guilty. I actually love the feeling of DOMs. I love the pain! There’s a history of mental health in my family, so training helps me to regulate. It doesn’t always have to be a gym session; it could be a walk on the stairs or any kind of physical activity. You changed your lifestyle to coincide with your DJ career, so tell us what life was like before you started training, and your diet before you went plant-based? I’m a foodie, always have been, and I used to overindulge to the extent that my weight fluctuated when I was younger. Training now regulates me and looks after my mind, body and spirit, but it also helps me manage what I put into my body. One thing I realised when I started training regularly is that you’ll never know how bad you’re feeling until you start training properly. It makes such a
difference to you. I was in the dark just cracking on, but when I started training, it felt like I’d tapped into some secret about how good you can feel. My organs and senses were awakened. I love growth and I like to challenge myself, so I went to group sessions and classes to push myself. These were sessions that made me feel uncomfortable, but I enjoyed the process of growing and developing. Training changed my life. By feeling better, I became more focused in all aspects of my life. Successful people look after themselves. What was the main motivation for going plant-based… For me, it was to see how I’d feel. My best friend is a boxer and he’s plant-based, and he recommended it to me. I had a Nandos addiction at the time I was training with him, and together we would eat Nandos every day. I started to feel sluggish despite eating reasonably healthily. After he went plant-based he told me of the benefits. I then watched What The Health (a food documentary] and I was put off when I saw how meat was prepared and what went into it. I wanted to feel healthier and reverse the ageing process. Our bodies are less responsive as we get older, and I want my body to be in its optimum state. My mother has advanced dementia despite the fact she exercised every day, didn’t drink or smoke, and my dad died of cancer, so I looked into the effects of foods into our bodies. I wanted to see how I felt by trying plant-based food. I instantly felt better, so I never went back. That was six years ago. I’m plant based, not vegan, as I find veganism involves
lots of meat replacements. Plantbased is quite starchy, so I have to be mindful of carbs and stuff, but I finetune it to get it right. How do you manage to squeeze your fitness habits into your lifestyle, which no doubt involves late nights and lots of travel? My biggest challenge is eating well. I try not to eat too late, but it’s hard coming out of clubs and feeling hungry. I try to reach for things that won’t impact me, so bananas, cashew nuts, falafel wraps. Eating late has a detrimental effect on my body, even if it’s healthy. I feel bloated, but you learn about what works for you. No Kane No Gain is a health platform in London, Brighton and beyond. What was the motivation for creating it, and what’s the future for it? It’s going really well. Last year was a good year for us. We went out to Jamaica, we partnered with Hackney Fitness festival and this year we’re involved with the Love Trails festival in Wales, which basically involves music, running and fitness. We’re building a brand to create a platform where people of all abilities can be in a space with likeminded in a friendly environment, and where music is just as important. The music is on point and the energy of the class is welcoming and inclusive. We have a weekly session in Brixton, a monthly in east London, and I want to hit each corner of London and the UK, and abroad. We’ve done a session with Reebok and other brands, maybe independent brands. It continues to grow from strength to strength.
My favourite place to play? It depends on the event. Croatia has a big event called Fresh Island, it’s Europe’s biggest hip hop festival. All the Americans come over, it’s warm and beautiful. I love a chilled beach afternoon and a soul-filled house set, so Miami, Vegas… Rotterdam is a great place to play. They love their hip hop. What’s Passionate Plants? It’s a vegan fine-dining event launched last year, and we’re bringing it back this year too. It’s all about creating a fun environment where people interested in plantbased food can experience it. I DJ, there’s a cool atmosphere. Keep an eye on it!
TRACKS TO WORKOUT TO You’re a grafter, working with loads of big brands. What have you got going on at the moment? I try, but I’m always tired!! Nowadays, being creative and self employed… it’s hard. Once you stop for a minute you notice it. Last year, my dad passed away in May and I had to retreat for a few months to get my head together. After having spent a few months away from work I found I’d lost my focus, I really noticed it. My grieving process was to travel a lot. Jamaica, Antigua and America, travelling is my escapism, my happy place. I need to be warm! I love training outside and abroad. How is 2020 shaping up for you? I’m focusing on No Kane No Gain. DJing is always there, it’s my bread and butter. Every year in Jan/Feb I
have this panic of having no bookings, and then by the time it gets to summer I’m always busy. I’ve been doing a residency in Ibiza for the last three or four years, and I’m talking to festivals about this summer. I’m also looking to get my PT level 3 qualification; I want to know and understand everything to do with fitness. Where’s your favourite place to play? Jamaica is my favourite place to visit. Everything you smell in the air is food and all you can hear is music! I love the energy. There are even DJs playing by the supermarkets. It fills my heart and soul. It’s warm, clean and beautiful. I love Kenya too and work with an orphanage over there. I love Thailand too, it’s my favourite place to go to chill and train, and eat.
ONE TAKE GHETTS & RUDE KID IN HER HEART CAPLETON I DON’T SMOKE DEEKLINE WELCOME TO THE PARTY POP SMOKE YEAH YEAH AIDONIA ALL DEM A TALK MAVADO HERE COMES TROUBLE CHRONIXX NEGRO LEAGUE MICK JENKINS AFRICAN WARRIOR DONAEO MISS ME SPACE COWBOY
MEET THE ‘DADDY’ OF ALL EXERCISES
ONE EXERCISE, 10 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME. SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, RIGHT? IT’S NOT, AS DAN FALLON EXPLAINS… What if I told you there was one exercise that takes ten minutes a day and would build superhuman strength in your entire body.
My top coaching points in each phase There are seven phases to get to the top of the TGU before you reverse the order.
Would you believe me? Maybe not. The Turkish get-up (TGU) is the ‘Daddy’ of all exercises when it comes to hitting full-body strength, flexibility and coordination. It’s often butchered in the gym because men don’t give it the respect and time needed to cultivate a beautiful get-up. Adding the TGU to a high-intensity workout is like having decaf coffee, you just don’t go there. The aim is to perfect the get-up so that it complements the body rather than leaving it screaming from the pain after rushing through it or, even worse, lifting too much load.
PHASE 1 THE ROLL Ensure that you can feel the weight going through your foot to rotate the body over enough to pull yourself onto the elbow.
Men don’t spend enough time finely adjusting and being in the moment whilst executing this skilful movement. Taking your time whilst breathing in each phase of the TGU enhances a range of motion in the places that often become tight in adulthood (hips and shoulders) and stabilises in the joints you need to be safe during your training program (the lower back etc.) The benefits of taking your time with the TGU when it comes to mobility and stability of the entire body are incredible. Some quote the exercise as ‘yoga for meatheads’ and I’ve even heard a reference towards the movement being able to build an ‘Iron Back’. Given that lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal condition that keeps people off work, I’d say this is a great injury prevention tool.
PHASE 2 THE HALF SIT Make sure the shoulders are squeezed together to prevent them from pointing after you have corkscrewed the arm around.
PHASE 3 THE BRIDGE
PHASE 4 THE SWEEP
Ensure you lift up the backside enough to sweep the leg through. Pause in this position to light up the hips.
PHASE 5 THE HINGE
This is the sexy part of the movement. Make sure you sit deep onto the heel to open the hips and the upper back.
PHASE 6 THE LUNGE
Ensure you drive with the hips during this motion and not the lateral core (between the hips and rib cage).
Once you have organised yourself into the front lunge position, brace the core hard to then stand up.
PHASE 7 THE STANDING PLANK During this position squeeze the buttocks together as hard as possible and flare the rib cage downwards.
WHY ONLY 10 MINUTES? I do my best to complete five repetitions each side per day. Each repetition I make last for 45-60 seconds. I take a deep breath in each pose and really focus on moving my body only when I feel absolutely tight in all the right places.
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DIETING MYTHS UNCOVERED Every day you’re bombarded with advice about how to get in shape, but it’s so often contradictory. Here, health and weight loss consultant surgeon Dr Sally Norton dispels some common myths… Dieting is the best way to lose weight – FALSE Research shows that when women, in particular, want to lose weight they turn to dieting. Unfortunately, research also shows that this is highly unlikely to lead to long-term weight loss, with over 85% of people regaining all of the weight they have lost, and more, by a year after the diet. This can then lead to the misery of yo-yo dieting, which can be harmful for health and is no way to live your life. Make a few changes to your lifestyle and eating habits that you can sustain. You need a good breakfast – FALSE A recent study confirmed that whether you have a good breakfast or not makes no difference to weight loss. Everyone is different – you may be an early riser or a night owl when it comes to sleep, so it is not surprising that your breakfast desires may be different, too. Listen to your body when it comes to eating – if you are having proper nutritious food, your body will tell you when it needs fuelling. If you focus on a bit of protein (as confirmed by other recent research) and avoid sugar and processed carbs then whether you have a quick snack or a feast for breakfast is entirely up to you!
Eat regular snacks throughout the day – FALSE It is often said in dieting folklore that eating little and often stops you getting so hungry and encourages you to burn off more energy. Our bodies weren’t built for constant snacking – particularly on the sort of food we eat nowadays. You are better off getting used to going without food for a few hours at a time – it helps you understand that you are often not eating from hunger, just from habit…and that “hunger” can be ignored for a while without us falling flat on the floor! Recent research backs up this view showing that women who ate two meals or five meals of the same calorie content, showed no difference in the amount of energy they burnt off. Exercise doesn’t really help weight loss – FALSE Yes, in a very literal sense, exercise does not lead to weight loss – if you believe that all an hour of exercise does is burn off 200 calories worth of a 400-calorie doughnut. But it isn’t black and white like that. Losing weight isn’t just about making sure that energy out is more than energy in… we are much more complex as human beings than that overly simplistic model! Studies suggest that exercise can help weight loss in other ways.
Exercise builds up muscle – which burns more energy in the longer term. If we are more muscular, we are more toned, have better posture and thus look slimmer. Looking good makes us feel better about ourselves – and if we feel fit and healthy we are more likely to make healthier choices – which promotes weight loss. We should be stocking up on lowfat foods to lose weight – FALSE The myth that fat is bad has been particularly harmful to our health and waistline. Many fats are healthy in moderation – and yet we are bombarded with low-fat yoghurts, ‘slimming’ ready meals and processed spreads that are bulked up with sugar, salt or chemical nasties that provide little, if any, nutrition. Butter, cheese, full-fat yoghurt and other dairy and animal fats are natural and seldom processed, unlike many low-fat alternatives. Coconut oil is another fat that has recently been enjoying popularity. You are therefore best off focusing on real food – that means avoiding anything processed wherever possible. By doing so you will automatically be reducing your refined carbs, eating natural fats and proteins, bulking up with fruit and veg – and dramatically cutting down on your sugar intake.
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COLUMNIST WILL WILLIAMS IS THE UK’S LEADING MEDITATION TEACHER AND HE REVEALS HOW WE CAN COMBAT THE DAILY RIGOURS LIFE CAN THROW AT US
FIVE MINUTES TO DESTRESS
tress of all forms has its roots in the mismatch between our biological make-up, and the intensity of modern life. And the workplace is obviously one of those places where we feel it most acutely, staring at screens all day, with deadlines and responsibilities putting us under pressure, and occasionally causing our biology to react in ways which surprise, bemuse and confuse us, and ultimately cause us to feel less good about ourselves and the world. Beeja means the ‘seed of infinite potential’ and Beeja meditation is simple, effective, fun and based on ancient wisdom as well as
scientific research. Beeja meditation is different from anything you’ve seen before. Whilst conventional mindfulness reduces stress by eliminating thoughts, Beeja meditation is based on the Vedic principles, which help you to release thoughts, to reduce stress and heighten experience. Your body is given a chance to reset and reboot, as Beeja meditation takes you 33% deeper into relaxation than even your deepest sleep. Beeja meditation is incredibly effective at getting to the root of your stress response and calming your body down, so you are less reactive, more energised and ultimately more
productive. It uses sounds, allocated by a teacher, that will interact with your nervous system to give it the bandwidth it needs to deal with all of life’s dramas, and all of your tasks. 1 YOU CAN MEDITATE ANYWHERE! A common misconception about meditation is that you have to be in total silence. You can in fact meditate anywhere: sitting on the bus or the tube, at the beach, in a park, in the cinema before a film starts, at your desk before a big meeting, on an airplane if you are a nervous flier. Most people will just think you’re asleep! 2 TRY TO MEDITATE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH It’s best to allow 1.5-2 hours after eating before you meditate so your body isn’t too busy digesting food that it can’t slip into relaxation mode. It’s also best to avoid having caffeine before, as it’s very stimulating for your nervous system and can also delay your body’s relaxation response. 3 USE THE WORD BEEJA AS YOUR MANTRA Sit down, close your eyes, and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Feel both feet on the floor and let your awareness drift across all parts of your body. Now start gently repeating the sound ‘Beeja’ in your mind. Be soft and slow and faint and relaxed. Beeja means the ‘seed of infinite potential.’ 4 MEDITATE FOR FIVE MINUTES Do this for five minutes, coming back to whispering the sound in your mind every time you lose track of it (which will happen lots, and that’s ok!). After five minutes, stop repeating the sound, and then take 30 seconds with eyes closed, and think of someone, or something, that you love. Hold that feeling in your heart for this time, and then go about your day feeling a little bit better.
The Effortless Mind by Will Williams is out now priced £9.99 (Simon & Schuster). For information about meditation classes visit beejameditation.com
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COLUMNIST WE’RE ALL GUILTY OF GYM FAILS, EVEN THE LEAN MACHINES BOYS. HERE, THEY REVEAL THEIR SIX BIGGEST MISTAKES, AND WHAT THEY LEARNED (SO YOU CAN TOO!)
HAIL THE FAILS! 1. LOW-CARB DIETS Both of us were on very low-carb diets for a long time. We weren’t doing it for any other reason than we felt it was the right thing to do to get lean! Yes, we got lean, but it had nothing to do with reducing carbs, it was because we were reducing the amount of calories in our diet. And it was a really miserable experience! Every single diet works because of a calorie deficit, no matter how it’s manifested. It’s easy to get confused by this kind of stuff, and we clearly did. 2. JUMPING FROM PLAN TO PLAN Everyone needs a plan. And when you have one, stick to it! I remember going to the gym and seeing what others were doing and then copying them, ditching my plan – which was tailored for me, my body and my needs – for something else because I thought it looked good. I’m sure we’re all guilty of this one, right? Yet you need to give your plan time to work, then analyse the merits and the downfalls before you move onto something else. If you stick to a plan and it’s terrible and doesn’t work for you, then it can still be a success because you’ve learned what doesn’t work for your body. 3. MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY I used to think that my way was the only way. I used to stick my head in the sand and believe I knew the best ways to train but I soon found there are lots of different ways to do it. I used to be surrounded by a bodybuilding culture and so that’s what I knew, but now I like Crossfit
stuff too, and indoor climbing, and gymnastics, yoga… I used to be so one-dimensional and not open to trying new things. Big mistake! 4. THINKING THAT MAKING MISTAKES IS WRONG Nobody aims to make mistakes, obviously, but everything I’ve learned has come from making one. If things are going well for you, you’ll stay on that path. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right path. Somebody might have spent their whole life doing something the same way and they might have had a degree of success doing it like that, but someone else might have failed a few times and had more success. Failure isn’t something to seek, but it’s sometimes the only way to learn. 5. CARING WHAT OTHERS THINK I went to a commercial gym for
the first time the other week and I forgot how those places can sometimes make you feel insecure. But they shouldn’t! I was using the bench press and I had two huge dudes watching over me, whether it was because they were waiting to use it or they were checking out my form, I don’t know. I’m sure they didn’t care what I was doing, and I didn’t really care what they thought, but there was a small part of me that wondered what they were thinking. I’m sure people don’t judge, but it can feel like that… so it’s important to switch off those self-conscious thoughts! 6. ASPIRING TO BE THE WRONG PEOPLE When I first got into training, I based all of my motivation and my training on someone I saw in a magazine who looked absolutely amazing. You see it all the time now; celebrity or pro workouts or ways to train, and you copy those sessions. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of people in those said magazines and one thing I’ve learned is that some people are genetic freaks, others might use substances, or they might not live the same sort of lifestyle as we do, i.e. they might have all the money and time in the world to train. You simply cannot compare your situation to others because you don’t know the back story, or their situation.
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IF YOU’VE EVER HAD ANY OF THE BELOW THOUGHTS DURING YOGA THEN YOU’RE NOT ALONE, SAYS ALEXANDRA LEGOUIX…
CONFESSIONS FROM THE MAT 9.50am: Its GREEN! The light is green Madam Peugeot driver... Go, go, go damn you! I am so late! Ok... moving... I will make it... I can be five minutes late at a push and they’ll still let me in if I’m quiet I’m sure...
goooooood. Yes, yes, yes. Grrr. Flying. Woop. Gosh, I love yoga.
10.02am: Morning! Sorry, sorry, is it ok? I promise I’ll sneak in quietly. Thank you, thank you! 10.04am: Hmm, okay, I want to be near the mirror... I wonder if I can squeeze in there... No I won’t go there, she’s too good... Ok there is good... Ok let’s do this... Sorry, sorry... Quick, relax... Oh god they are already moving... 10.22am: Oh come on body, wakey, wakey. Why are you so stiff today?! Grrr... 10.30am: OK, this is good. A few sun salutations down and I am on a roll. I’m floooowing, my energy is up, I feel good... I’m actually quite good at this yoga malarkey... yeah, look at me... And I don’t look too porky either. 10.35am: Holy crap. Why can’t I balance? What is wrong with me?! Jeez, I am wobbling so much more than everyone else. Look how good everyone else looks! 10.42am: You’re not breathing. C’mon ujjayi breath, work your magic... 10.50am: Oh, I feel good. This feels
11.12am: Wild thing. Yes, I agree Lynette. Such a good teacher you are. I am ‘embracing my wild thing’. Damn, I am on fire today. Go me... This year is going to be a good year. Things are going to change... I can really feel it... 11.15am: What. Is. That? My back. Ouch. No, please don’t go... Stay with me, body... We can do this... Breathe, breathe... 11.15... Already? Ok, almost at the end. Awesome... Lying down time soon... God, I really am ready to lie down... 11.18am: Another THREE vinyasas??? Jeez... 11.21am: Ok I am actually dying...
10.53am: I love this pose...
11.22am: Please can we lie down now?
10.54am: I hate this pose...
11.23: SWEAT... I actually can’t see...
10.55am: I have definitely put weight on... Yep... they are new love handles... maybe I can tuck my top in a bit... Not sure about this top actually... Damn, how is it possible to sweat this much...
11.26am: Aaaaand lie down... yes, yes, yes... quick, relax...
11.02am: ‘Mula Bandha?’ Which one is that one again?
11.32am: Huh? What? What’s that? Oh! Yes, sorry, namaste! Gosh, I was in such a deep sleep! Ok, c’mon. Up we get.... Ah yes, heaven. First yoga of 2019. I feel good. Ah well done body... Gosh I feel proud of doing that... That felt gooood... well done me... ok I am definitely going every day... This is my year... 2019, I got this... Boom.
11.06am: Oh god. I am so rubbish today. I wish I had done more yoga in January. Why didn’t I do more yoga? I swear I wouldn’t be so bad if I had just done more. 11.09am: Stop thinking. Breathe, breathe... Focus on your breath...
11.27am: Relax... your body... breathe... Relax... Do that ‘sinking through the floor thing’...
Namaste yogi pals
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EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR THE BRAIN, NOT JUST THE BOD, WRITES MARK LAWS
BRAIN V BRAWN
ou hammered the gym during spring so you could reveal your chiselled abs and muscly legs beside the pool on your summer holiday. Correction, you got hammered at the bar opposite the gym all spring and then took advantage of the allinclusive, exercising only your drinking arm, before insisting that NEXT year ‘things are going to be different’. You said that last year. And the one before that. But who am I to judge? Well I come bearing good news. Kind of. Yes, lifting weights (safely and effectively) is a fantastic way to change your body, to build muscle and to attract the attention of fickle members of the opposite sex. However, there are some overlooked benefits of exercise and weightlifting that you might want to use as added motivation to not be such a slacker next year – exercise is fantastic for brain function. Not that one… the one on top of your shoulders! Studies show that exercise increases regional blood flow in areas of the brain which are important for motor control and reward processes, both of which depend on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter for both
motor control and reward-related learning and the research shows that exercise significantly improves dopamine-related brain function. Participants within the study even reported an improvement in mood and their ability to switch tasks, which is an indicator for improved executive function. Your hippocampus sits at the core of your brain’s learning and memory systems and has been shown to grow as you get fitter. It responds strongly to aerobic exercise which partially explains the memory-boosting properties of cardiovascular exercise… and yes, you do have a hippocampus.
German researchers have even shown that walking or cycling when learning can help you to remember foreign language vocabulary. Exercise will improve your concentration, improve your mental health, enhance your creativity and will slow down the inevitable process of cognitive decline. It is unlikely that Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training game on your old Nintendo DS will make you looked ripped on the beach next year (although it will certainly get you a few phone numbers if you tell people how good you are at it), however, increasing your exercise levels might just improve your ability to play the game. Oh, and it could also come in handy for numerous work-related tasks that require brain function. So if the boss finds you banging out some curls in the gym, you have genuine grounds to claim that you are enhancing your brain’s ability to function and that you will smash out some first-class work just as soon as you finish this set… What can possibly go wrong?
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RELAX… THE GLOBAL WAY We’re constantly being told we need to be more mindful, but how does everyone else do it? Here, we look at relaxation tips from around the world FIKA, SWEDEN Z
HOT SPRINGS, ICELAND Y Iceland is situated on one of the most active geothermal locations on Earth. The result is an abundance of hot springs filled with natural ice water heated by the earth’s mantle, like the worldfamous Blue Lagoon. Take a dip and immerse your body in delicious 40°C temperatures and feel the results. Rich in silica, the water is purported to work wonders on conditions like eczema and acne, leaving your skin feeling smooth and soft and your body relaxed.
We all take a break for coffee. But not like the Swedes. Their coffee break – fika – is serious business. In offices and homes around the country, Swedes get together to enjoy sweet treats and coffee. It’s a ceremony of almost religious importance, designed to let people breathe and take a break from the rigours of the day. In Sweden, you don’t drink coffee-on-the-go in a Stryfoam cup, while rushing to and from meetings. Instead, you enjoy your hot drink in the presence of others, with treats and snacks piled high.
LAUGHTER YOGA, INDIA Z Picture a group of people in a park laughing for absolutely no reason at all; no jokes are being told and there’s nothing comedic being projected on a screen – nope, it’s belly laughter for the sake of it. This is laughter yoga, which mixes the science of breathing with the feel-good endorphins of a good old giggle. Practitioners claim that our bodies can’t tell the difference between real laugher and faked laughter. In fact, the only difference is that real laughter is over in seconds. When you choose to belly laugh, you can keep going and going, prolonging the feel-good vibes. Laughter yoga sessions typically last less than 30 minutes and are performed in groups. Proponents of the movement swear that it reduces the stresses of modern life.
CAPOEIRA, BRAZIL Y Set to the beat of a drum and the rhythmic clap of hands, capoeiristas enter into a synchronised dance, moving side-to-side with arms swinging at their waist in a move called ‘the ginga’. This progresses into backflips, cartwheels and choreographed spins incorporating exaggerated leg kicks. Performers lose themselves in the dance. The outside world ceases to matter, allowing capoeiristas to forget about their day-to-day struggles as they move their bodies and exert their muscles for a heady rush of endorphins.
MATE, ARGENTINA AND URUGUAY Y Visit Argentina or neighbouring Uruguay and you’ll notice people clutching a calabash pot with a silver straw sticking out the end. Now and then they’ll sip from the straw, enjoying all the benefits of a caffeinated drink that isn’t tea or coffee. This is mate (pronounced martay), a drink made from the dried yerba leaf, which is ground up and placed in the calabash pot before hot water is added. The pot is shared between friends, while news and gossip is exchanged. South Americans swear by its health benefits (mate can reduce oxidative stress, for one), but they also use it as a way of fostering companionship.
TAI CHI, CHINA Z A Chinese tradition developed in the 13th century, tai chi has been adopted in the West as an antidote to the desk-bound lives we lead. Practitioners learn to balance and untense their muscles through a series of standing poses, but tai chi isn’t only exercise. It’s also a form of mindfulness training, designed to slow racing thoughts and calm the mind. The clever part? By focusing on your body, you’re able to quieten your mind. Practitioners take lungfuls of air through their nostrils and exhale through their mouths, purging negative thoughts and relaxing in the process.
SAGE SMUDGING, NORTH AMERICA Sage (or salvia apiana, to give its medical name) grows in hardy terrain in mountainous regions of North America. What happens when you take a bundle of sage and light the stack? In Native American culture, you’re sage smudging, an ancient practice believed to purify the air and cleanse the spirit. But you don’t need to be a devoted mystic to do it. As the smoke from the sage fills the room, you have a chance to centre yourself and enjoy the myriad health benefits devotees swear by: relief from headaches, blocked sinuses, and even improved mood and memory.
TIBETAN SINGING BOWLS, TIBET Z
UBUNTU, SOUTH AFRICA Y The idea of ‘ubuntu’ originated amongst the Zulu tribe on South Africa’s east coast and it has spread far and wide. Unlike the other activities on the list, ubuntu is actually a philosophy of living rather than an activity, but a philosophy that can very much be put into practice. In short, treat one another with compassion. Be capable of forgiveness. Be willing to give. And be grateful.
A bowl is filled with water and positioned in the palm of one’s hand. Then, a mallet wrapped in leather is moved around the base of the bowl. The result is a sound likened to the bowl ‘singing’. Welcome to the Tibetan singing bowl. Its distinct, meditative drone signals the start – and end – of a yoga session. The bowl is also used in sound healing, where sonic vibrations are used to heal the mind and body in lieu of traditional medicine. YouTube is awash with the melodic drone of a Tibetan singing bowl, so give it a try.
FRILUFTSLIV, NORWAY (AS WELL AS OTHER SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES) X Many cultures across the world believe that a day not spent behind a desk is a day wasted. Not in Norway. Like its Scandinavian neighbours, Norwegians work to live, not live to work. With a relaxed attitude to the office and flexi-time in abundance, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy friluftsliv, a term coined by poet Henrik Ibsen in 1859, one that translates to the ‘outdoors’ or ‘outdoor life’. With fjords, mountains and beautiful national parks, Norwegians will find any excuse to indulge a spot of walking, sightseeing and even camping. Come rain or shine.
DITCH THE QUICK-FIX APPROACH AND OPT FOR A MORE LONGTERM AND SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE, SAYS KURTIS STACEY
PLAYING THE LONG GAME
ver the past few months, I’ve met many people at fitness events and have been bombarded with clients, yet the one thing I have noticed is that not one person I’ve come across is looking for a lifestyle change. They all want quick-fix results. It always seems to be a case of, ‘I want to burn fat/ build muscle or train for a 10k’, but once that’s over and you’ve achieved the goal, what then? Where do you go from there?
What I want to encourage every one you BESTFIT readers to do is to look at a complete lifestyle change. Don’t opt for quick-fix Keto diets or no-carb diets, don’t kill yourself exercising twice a day, six days a week, doing
HIIT sessions and resistance training until you’re blue in the face. Instead, take your time and create something sustainable, healthy and long-lasting and in turn you will gain strength, overall fitness, longer-lasting results and will feel good, too! Firstly, we need to break down when you should exercise and for how long: I believe one hour is enough time to train two muscle groups and include 20 minutes cardio. Use this as your base line. Next, consider how many days you should (and realistically) can work out. You would be looking at approximately four days per week to fit all muscle groups in. Next up is your eating pattern
and what you consume daily. This is the part that requires the most discipline. Whole foods like Greek yoghurt, vegetables, fruit, salad, meat, fish and wholegrain rice is the basis of your life-changing results. Preparation is key: if you prepare your meals each week you’ll be less likely to stray. Lets break it down:
MEAL PLAN: • Meal 1 – Greek yoghurt (low fat) + fruit • Meal 2 – meat or fish + salad • Meal 3 – meat or fish + vegetables + wholegrain rice • Meal 4 – Greek yoghurt (low fat) • Snacks: fruits or nuts.
Now I know that may seem strict or difficult to stick to, especially when you’re only just starting out. So what I would suggest is to stick to this diet for five to seven days and for the other two days allow yourself to relax a little (within reason!) Don’t beat yourself up for having a treat or eating out, depriving yourself will only make the process harder and set you back in the long run. And finally: patience. Living a healthy lifestyle is hard work, it’s one of the main reasons people fail to maintain it all year round. But be consistent, use the basic rules I’ve given you as a foundation to build your own healthy lifestyle, and you can’t go wrong. For more information on healthy eating and training, you can find me on twitter @kurtisstaceyKS, or contact the BESTFIT team.
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